Well, actually it was one I bought for myself. The lace flyer kit for my Louet Victoria wheel. Whoa, is it ever different from what I expected! Although I’m not sure what my expectations might have been. To balance the flyer for high speeds, the arms are close in and the front section between them is a disk rather than the normal straight piece. The arms are hollow metal (aluminum?) tubes with a slit on the inside edge. The yarn goes through a hole in the disk and into the tube, coming out the slit and held in place by a plastic C-shaped stopper that slides along the tube.
The orifice itself is quite tiny at 5mm but it can be sized up to 8mm by pulling out the central white insert.
Threading is a two-step process since you can’t reach right through both sections at the same time. The supplied hook is quite short and has a plain beech dowel handle which has no means of fastening it to the wheel. T-Man has already put in a screw eye for me to loop it over the tension peg where it won’t get lost.
The three supplied bobbins are narrow as you might expect to fit between the narrow flyer arms. The ends are the same birch ply as the rest of the wheel but they’re painted black and the centre core is nylon and is a little bit textured so it’s less slippery than the main bobbins. They do NOT fit in the Victoria’s lazy-kate so I’ll have to rig something else up. What do you think the interestingly shaped keyhole in the core could be for? Got me wishing for a matching key to attach to the end of my leader cord!
The last item included in the kit is a small single whorl that must be fitted on in front of the original multiple whorl and hammered carefully into place. Mine was a very tight fit. The flat screwdriver was making dents and I needed something blunt so I could hammer harder. (I ended up using a large Allen key because it was handy in my tool drawer.) The wheel kept throwing the drive band until I got the whorl in really snug. Fractions of a mm made quite a difference. But my wheel disk is somewhat warped and wobbly anyhow so that could explain why I had more trouble with it throwing the band. Tori has her own little idiosyncracies but we get along just fine.
All the literature, websites etc. conflict on what the ratios really are on this wheel. One day I must measure for sure! The new one is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1:19 or 1:20. Maybe. It spins nice and fast without having to treadle very hard at all. It’s not silent in action but a wee bit noisy, not too annoying for me but then I haven’t spun with my hearing aids on yet! The action however is smooth and the yarn, even when spun very fine, doesn’t bounce around in the teeny orifice or jerk as it’s being drawn in. The scotch tension adjustment is very subtle: I let it off until it doesn’t draw in and then take it a tiny bit tighter until it does. We’re talking tiny increments of turn on the adjustment peg.
Of course I jumped right in and got out the 70% merino wool/30% SeaCell fine roving that I had which is so slippery to spin. This is in a combed prep but is a very narrow top, almost as thin as pencil roving and probably from somewhere in the middle of the manufacturer’s fibre-to-yarn sequence. No problems getting very fine with plenty of twist. Treadling is easy so I can concentrate on what’s happening in the drafting triangle. The only problem I have is that when I stop, I get back-twisted kinks in the yarn that I have to draw out carefully before I carry on. The C-stop acts somewhat like a Wooly Winder does and, though not automatic, is easy to adjust incrementally for complete filling of the bobbin. I can also take off the lace flyer without disturbing the yarn at all and put the original flyer back on at any time. Love my new toy! Told you I prefer to buy my own prezzies!
The price for the Lace Flyer Kit for the Louet S-95/S-96 Victoria was C$148.00 and the total damage with taxes and postage was just over C$174.o0. Yep it’s pricey, but so is everything Louet because it’s not made in a sweatshop in China or somewhere but in a small factory in Holland. BTW, information online is almost non-existent. If you have a Victoria and are interested in this, best call or email your dealer or Louet directly for more information. If you’re curious, my darling dealer is Jane Stafford, Salt Spring Island, BC. Best people, great service.
So how am I feeling? How thoughtful of you to ask! I’m on the slow mend but nowhere near 100% yet. I did discover one thing, the Wobblies are not treatable with antibiotics because they are back. Sigh. At least the other symptoms are subsiding though I’m still coughing quite a bit. That will take awhile to go away and anyway it seems to be clearing out a lot of gunk which I suppose is useful. Not to worry, I’ve got lots to do to amuse myself within my reduced capabilities. Nothing like being ordered by your doctor to stay home and rest, eh? Especially when it’s dumping rain and very windy outside. The kind of weather that turns your umbrella inside out and gets you all wet. Ugh.